Gamble with Me

Dawn

 

I took a deep breath, raised a trembling hand, and knocked.

 

I heard footsteps inside. A small pause as the lock turned. And then, the door cracked open. The first thing I noticed–and what I suddenly remembered from a lifetime ago–were those blue eyes.

 

Here they were at twenty-three years old, all over again.

 

It was a hot, Thursday night this past July. Sprawled out on my bed, reading a new novel and texting my girlfriends, I was slowly drifting off to sleep like I’d done so many summer evenings before.

 

Until another message with a once-familiar name appeared on my phone.

 

A name from nearly ten years ago.

 

My thoughts reeled, trying to remember how the puzzle pieces fit together.

 

A homecoming dance. Two small town kids, not even old enough to drive, holding hands beneath an October sky. A flicker of something between them that would likely never become anything at all.

 

And after graduation, five years passed. Years of growing up, becoming different people, earning degrees, leading entirely separate lives–but where on Earth was he now?

 

I sat up, suddenly curious to know.

 

Margaritas, barely touched.

 

He talked and I watched, enjoying for the first time the man he’d become. I’d missed it all and was now desperate to catch up.

 

He paused, turned those eyes on me, and in the San Antonio moonlight, my pale skin flushed pink.

 

I’m talking too much. Tell me about you, he said.

 

When I did, he simply listened. And smiled.

 

Now, months later, that smile is my undoing.

 

His laugh, his hand reaching across the car, his steady eyes meeting mine.

 

It’s like coming home.

 

 

I’ve written so often about love here on this little blog of mine. The peaks and valleys of it, the ache and joy, the impossibility of love and the childlike hope that I clung to all along.

 

There have been flashes of it, here and there. The almost-loves and the long-lost ones too.

 

For years I thought the real thing would be a flood of butterflies and trembling hands. A bundle of nerves and well-timed kisses.

 

As I traveled with him across the state this weekend, I realized that’s not even close to the whole of it.

 

It’s a tidal wave of certainty. Aching cheeks from grinning too much. A tightening of my chest when his laugh washes over me. It’s dreaming together and the breath that catches in my throat when he says something as simple as hello. It’s knowing that sometimes he’ll fly away for too long, but wanting that life anyways. It’s when he sees you for exactly what you are and won’t stop staring. It’s arguing about the stupid stuff. It’s trusting him with the bruised heart you have to offer.

 

It’s feeling sure in every single moment.

 

Ours is an unlikely love. So much could have gone wrong–poor timing, an unreturned text, a disastrous first date–but somehow we’re here.

 

Hundreds of miles apart and hopelessly in love.

 

And for once, betting on it doesn’t scare me at all.

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